2014 was the best year in job growth since 1999

The December jobs report is out.  The US economy added 252,000 jobs in the month of December, lowering the national unemployment rate to an impressive 5.6% from 5.8%.  That capped off a strong year of job growth, the best year since 1999.

What has not increased is employer generosity.  Despite strong job growth, wage growth has not kept pace.

Yet the surge in new job creation and sinking unemployment still haven’t led to sustained increases in how much American workers get paid each hour, the key to putting the U.S. recovery on an ideal growth path.  Wages fell 5 cents, or 0.2%, to $24.57 an hour. And the gain over the past 12 months slowed to just 1.7%.

Wage gains have averaged 2% or slightly less since 2010, just two-third as fast as they normally grow. Economists predict a tightening labor market will spur higher wages but so far earnings haven’t budged much. The Federal Reserve in December cited a lack of clear evidence of rising wages as reason it may keep interest rates near zero for an extended period.


Shippensburg’s Domestic Castings cited again by OSHA

Domestic Castings, a castings manufacturer located in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, has been cited and fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for the eighth time for safety violations.

Domestic Casting in Shippensburg has been cited and fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the for the eighth time in four years.

OSHA said Monday its three most recent inspections in June and July 2014 at the Shippensburg facility found 27 total violations and issued $152,912 in fines for many dangers previously found by OSHA inspectors, including fall, machine guarding, and sling hazards.

This is absolutely troubling to me.  This is not a first or second time violation, this is the eighth violation in the last few years.  That is a clear indication that the company just doesn’t care about the safety and health of their employees.  I just don’t understand that.  Employees are the driving force behind a company.  Unfortunately, I see all too often the results of safety ‘shortcuts’ or simply ignoring safety hazards.  For a company, it is a way to save a few bucks, for an injured worker, it can be devastating and life altering.  Work injuries frequently occur due to short cuts and cost saving measures.   Hand rails removed, safe guards taken off equipment, faulty mechanical equipment left unchecked, electrical lines exposed, are just some of the examples I’ve seen and this list is far from inclusive.   Yet, it is the everyday, hard working employee who ends up harmed.  Most of these OSHA cited violations are all about money and not wanting to spend funds to safeguard workers.

Another troubling fact in this specific case is that the violations recently cited are repeat violations.  They are violations that can cause serious harm.  But, they don’t care.  Time to discuss this with my state legislators.

A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Domestic Casting was previously cited for these same violations in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

They simply do not care.

Harrisburg OSHA Director Kevin Kilp commented on the violations.

“This company continues to ignore its employees’ safety by exposing them to dangers, including falls and hazards associated with lifting heavy loads. Domestic Casting must take immediate action to remove these hazards to protect workers from the risk of serious injury and possible death,” Kevin Kilp, director of OSHA’s Harrisburg Area Office, said in a statement.

If you have been injured on the job, we encourage you to follow our simple three steps to protect you and your workers compensation rights.  First, tell your employer about your injury.  Second, seek medical treatment right away.  Finally, call Mooney & Associates for a FREE consultation.  We can meet you in any of our twelve convenient Central Pennsylvania locations, including in our Shippensburg office located with Bell Insurance across from Pague & Fagan hardware store on West King Street.   Call today for a free consultation at 1-877-632-4656, or 717-263-9215.